Janet’s come a long way since her X Factor days in 2011. I remember watching her on the series and always thinking she didn’t suit the show – she seemed to have more to her than just being on a talent contest. Her voice and attitude were that of a singer-songwriter who wanted things her own way rather than being told what to do and what to sing. And so it’s with great respect and relief that we find Janet hasn’t just disappeared from our lives, and instead releasing her very own debut album Running with Scissors, offering her own unique stamp on the music world.
What you first notice about the record is that it might not sound like you were expecting. Janet could have easily gone down the folky-Irish route – god knows her voice would be suited to it, but instead she’s taken a more modern feel to proceedings, not just drawing on acoustic and folk, but also pop, indie and dance. It makes for a fuller album and again shows Devlin’s bravery which has been with her since the X Factor days. Album opener Creatures of the Night is fun, uplifting and leads to a good strong chorus – you wouldn’t expect anything less when you find out that singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner helped pen the tune. In fact many of the tracks were written with the input of others, which shows a great maturity; a lot of new artists fail to ask for help or learn from others – Janet welcomes this, and the album has reaped the benefits.
House of Cards is an album highlight, and shows just how Janet’s ability to sing and compose is beyond her years – this could easily be something that pop royalty Gary Barlow could have written, and sits beautifully with the little flicks in her vocals. Hide and Seek twists and turns to a catchy melody and shows off a sweet and innocent side that flits in and out throughout the record. “I don’t need a lighthouse to try and show me how” sings Devlin on Lifeboat – and it’s just this feeling of getting out there and doing it on her own that has got her where she is today with the freedom to create something that is unmistakably hers.
When You Were Mine flirts with the idea of being a dance track and has a big chorus to back this up and add another string to Janet’s bow, whereas a cover of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love is a good take on a classic track, that manages to tread the fine line between being different enough whilst also reminding you how great the original is.
Running With Scissors is above and beyond where the Irish singer-songwriter should be. She’s managed to create a sound that suits her voice well, and done it with the utmost integrity. I still think she has got a proper folk album in her somewhere, but that’s something to look forward to in the future – for the moment Janet should be proud by what she’s accomplished as it’s a great record that speaks volumes for sticking to your guns.